Architectural Photography Basics

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I love taking pictures of structures and buildings. In fact, it’s my #1 favorite thing to do. For a while I was lost on how to make the most of my photos but then met Barry Harley, an architectural photographer in Northern Virginia who gave me some tips on how to photos properly. He told me there there is not one large general field of Architectural Photography, but rather several sub-niches, and your target audience must be taken into account.

Architecture is an extensive topic, enveloping everything from high-rise buildings to small houses. Practically every place we visit, we are encircled by some sort of architecture each day. As a result of this, it ought to come as no surprise that architecture is a very sought-after subject in photography.

Notwithstanding its variety, there are a variety of concepts and strategies which could be applied to most photographic scenarios. Always keeping them in your mind at most times will motivate you to reflect more cautiously about your framing, proportion, and lighting.

With enough practice, you’ll establish your eye for architecture photography. Doing this will serve to help you shoot your targets in a more intriguing way, staying away from commonly-repeated compositions and infusing more character into your snapshots.


When capturing aged architecture, a simple and uncomplicated composition typically does the job most effectively, revealing the natural elegance and style of the structure. It normally helps to incorporate some of the neighboring surroundings to provide framework to the architecture and make things seem less confined.

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When photographing contemporary architecture you can get by with utilizing a far more modern, intellectual style. Try out wide angle lenses to create remarkable context, or photograph the structure from peculiar angles. Additionally, due to the fact that modern-day buildings are frequently tucked very near to each other, you can crop in snugly on the building without causing the photo to feel ‘out of place’.


The concern of whether to reveal your building’s landscapes is dependent on the scenario and the information you wish to share. Ask yourself whether or not placing your structure in context would contribute to or interfere with the photo. If the landscape favors your building then shoot a broader image, but if the environments don’t match with the information you want to communicate, trim them out.



Lighting is a vital component of architectural photography. Obviously we get no claim over the placement and alignment of a structure, and lighting the building without help is in most cases inconceivable (and also very expensive!). As an alternative we have to use what nature supplies.

Side-front lighting commonly creates the best architecture images. It offers lots of illumination and also projects long, intriguing shadows all over the facade of the building, helping make its surface elements catch the eye and granting the building a more three-dimensional appearance.

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When photographing architecture it is very easy to become caught in the attitude that “architecture equates to buildings”. Obviously this could not be farther from reality, and in fact most manufactured constructions fall within the architecture umbrella – bridges, high rises, wind mills, monoliths, as well as lamp posts. Think laterally and discover if you can get some appealing photos that the majority of people would miss.

Watch this video about architectural photography: